We need to demonstrate to 55 million South Africans that 23 years of democracy have benefited everybody.
Banking and financial services, in general, are quite a critical and pivotal part of our economy. In fact, since our mining days, this is probably the fastest-growing sector in terms of a percentage of the GDP, but also in terms of a percentage of the number of people that it employs.
So, mining used to be probably our biggest sector at about 18 percent of GDP. South Africa was the number-one goods producer in the world. Manufacturing was 24 percent and now it is sitting at 40 percent. Manufacturing in gold has dropped, but services, in general, have increased, driven mostly by financial services.
This is important because if you want to be internationally competitive, then you want to make sure that your people have absolute access to the 21st-century technology. And banking has done that for us, South Africa’s banking system is among the top five in the world. In the last 10 years, the number-one banking company in the world has always been a South African company — in the last three or five years it’s been Capitec and before then it was Absa.
South Africa has a very robust financial system, the proof point is the fact that during the 2007/2008 global recession precipitated by the subprime crisis in the USA — by nature a financial crisis that then lead to a liquidity crisis — SA never suffered any of those. In fact, in 2008 we had a positive GDP growth, with 2007 being our highest where we clocked 5.4 percent GDP growth.
The only contraction was in 2009 at 0.9 percent, but we were lucky because in 2010 we hosted the soccer world cup, spending R787 billion, then we spent our way out of recession. This is proof of how robust the financial sector has saved our country, our reputation and therefore the millions of jobs.